Friday, June 3, 2011

The Danger of PREYing

We leave for summer camp in a few weeks and have been making one last push to get some more of our high school friends on that bus. Lots of kids are already signed up, so we've been trying to use that to our advantage when "selling" camp. "Susie, Sallie and Big Mike are all going, so YOU gotta go!"

I've been on my friend Chris like a rat on a Cheeto, trying to eliminate any obstacle or excuse he could come up with as a reason not to go. Yesterday, I finally got the dreaded cold shoulder when I entered the cafeteria. I knew I had finally pushed too hard. He didn't want to talk to me anymore.

I recently read this article titled "Do We Pursue Others For Jesus For Selfish Reasons? I was convicted. The author of the post, Mark Riddle, wrote, "Maybe we should stop being so consumed about pursuing people. Lions pursue prey. Flesh-eating zombies pursue victims' brains. Athletes pursue trophies. Police pursue suspects. This isn't a game of tag in the school yard."

Do kids ever feel like I am a lion pursuing my prey?

A few years ago I read "Now, Discover Your Strengths" and took the "Strength Finder" test to discover that one of my strength areas was referred to as "WOO" or "Winning Others Over." Ever since then I've had to fight a constant thought that I am good at "winning others over." It almost turned people into a game to be won.

Another one of my top strength results from the test was "Competition," which only adds to this struggle. I want to win, and I want to win others over. This is dangerous. When people become a project to accomplish or a competition to be won, it is no longer about Jesus, it is about me. My glory, not His.

Lord, have mercy.

But...I'm pursuing these kids so hard because I want them to know Christ. I sincerely do. It's such a blurry line between prideful motivation and spirit-led invitation. Am I spending more time talking to God about these kids or more time talking to these kids about summer camp?

What about you? Am I the only leader out there that struggles with treating my high school friends as prey to be captured? Let's confess our arrogance, selfishness, and desire for our own glory. May we be so aware of our own sinfulness that the grace of God may be more evident in our lives. 

Father, we must decrease. You must increase. Help us. Give us your eyes to see these teenagers as you see them.


  1. Thanks for this post. I have felt the same so many times in my 4 years as a leader. While most of my pursuits are "spirit-led invitation," as you said, a lot of it was also my inner need to succeed. I hate failure and rejection, and hearing "No," be it for a cup of coffee, or something as big as summer camp, is AWFUL! This post was encouraging and such a gentle reminder of something I struggle with so often. A phrase that they throw around at us as leaders is that God doesn't call us to be successful, He calls us to be faithful. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  2. Thanks for commenting Kristen. It's encouraging that we don't fight this battle alone.

  3. I think this is a very wise post - There's such a fine line between making sure a kid knows that you want them to come to camp versus holding it over their heads. And I totally feel you Kristen as well!

  4. I agree! I have been praying this prayer for the past 2 weeks! He must increase and I MUST decrease! Glad I am not in this alone, AMEN.

  5. I agree! I have been praying this prayer for the past 2 weeks! He must increase and I MUST decrease! Glad I am not in this alone, AMEN.